The history of plastic surgery is complex and therefore is a lot to take in at one time. Hopefully this post will be a brief overview of the history of plastic surgery and supply readers with a general knowledge on the subject.* Plastic surgery reaches back to the 700’s BCE. Physicians in ancient India were using skin graft techniques as early as the 8th century BC. In accounts of plastic surgery during these times there are descriptions and mentions of rhinoplasty and otoplasty. This knowledge of plastic surgery existed in India up to the late 18th century.
The Romans were another group that used plastic surgery to perform simple techniques such as repairing damaged ears from around the 1st century BC. In the mid-15th century Europe, Heinrich von Pfolspeundt described a process ’to makes a new nose for one who lack it entirely’ by removing skin from the back of the arm and suturing it in place. It was not until the 19th and 20th centuries that this type of surgery became common because of the dangers that were associated with the process. At the time there was no anesthesia and all surgery on these healthy tissues involved great pain. Infection was also another problem that occurred occasionally that has become much less of a bother since disinfectants and sterile techniques were introduced.
The U.S.’s plastic surgeon was Dr. John Peter Mettauer, who, in 1827, performed to first cleft palate operation with instruments that he designed himself. Plastic surgery as a specialty evolved tremendously during the 20th century in the U.S. Dr. Vilray Blair was the first chief of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Washington University and taught many surgeons who became leaders in the field of plastic surgery.*
This small little snippet of the history of plastic surgery doesn’t tell all the details and mention all the names that are completely included in the full history. It is a brief overview so as to get a good feel for this branch of medicine.
*The information included within the asterisks was taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plastic_surgery
Dr. Kim is a plastic surgeon providing his expertise to the Beverly Hills area. For more information please visit Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery.